Friday, February 10, 2006


Yesterday was the first time since Autumn that I got out from work while there was still light outside. It gave me a glorious feeling, making me think of how beautiful London really is and how much I love it here.
A lot of people - particularly my snooty compatriots - when they hear where I live, commiserate with me. "The weather must be terribly rainy and foggy," they say, "the people are so unfriendly and British food is terrible! How do you stand it?"
The truth is that I’m really enjoying it. And not only because the sheer amount and quality of theaters, cinemas, museums etc. is overwhelming, but even the urban environment and weather is quite pleasant. Over the few months that I've lived here the weather has been slightly milder than Milan’s and it has rarely rained.
Having grown up in Trieste (which, by the way, is a truly fascinating city) I have a special affection for the Bora and wind in general (though I do draw the line at hurricanes and tornadoes). So, after years of suffering the suffocating pollution and stagnation of Milan, it came as a pleasant surprise that London is often a windy place with fresh air which can be inhaled deeply and gusts of wind that ruffle your hair.
And the parks! The glorious parks with rolling lawns, that can be found all over London: Hyde Park, Green Park, St. James Park, Regent Park… and so many smaller ones tucked away between the streets.
Not to mention the Thames. (Photo source)

Walking along its banks is a special pleasure for me, as I grew up by the seaside, both in Trieste and in Baltimore, MD, but was denied that special feeling of movement, openness and potential adventure that bodies of water give a city, while living in Milan and Brussels. Here is an aerial view from above the Canary Wharf skyscrapers in the east (Photo source)

And though there are so many more people here (7.5 million) than in Brussels (1 million) or Milan (1.3 million), the city feels less crowded and suffocating. The people themselves are incredibly diverse: virtually the total spectrum of any human endeavor or interest - whether it be spiritual, cultural, emotional, culinary, physical or political - is represented here, and so anyone can find like-minded people as well as learning about different perspectives (though I admit the search is not always easy).
Naturally, there are things I don’t like about London, such as the absurd separate faucets for hot and cold water (as well as more serious things), but even the British eccentricity - at least with respect to faucets - fascinates me. So, thanks for the concern, but I'm really doing fine right here where I am.

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